AVOIDING THE DITCHES – Ray E Horton
Legalists say keep the law or else. Those given to license say there is no accountability. Both are wrong! I was in a discussion on one post with a legalistic believer and a Universalist. I wrote:
Jesus changed everything
The law is good, but its purpose is to show unregenerated man that he is a sinner and cannot keep the law.
We are no longer in the Old Testament. Jesus changed everything with the New Covenant. Yes, we do live right, according to His standards. But not out of fear of breaking the law, but by faith in His grace, which empowers us. Christ fulfilled the law. The law is good, but its purpose is to show unregenerated man that he is a sinner and cannot keep the law. It is only by the Holy Spirit given to regenerated man by the grace of God as Jesus that one can overcome weakness and sin and lead the good life serving Him.
To the believer, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). Trying by the flesh and will-power may work for a while, but always fails. “For by grace (what Jesus did) you have been saved through faith (our response), and that not of yourselves (we can’t save ourselves); it is the gift of God, not of works (our performance doesn’t save us), lest anyone should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9).
Narrow way for unbelievers
Jesus said the way is narrow. And yes, it is narrow if not impossible for the unbeliever; but the way is wide and completely available to the believer. When the believer gets into the ditch of religious legalism on one side, or license or universalism on the other, the outcome can be pretty miserable for them in this life, because they are not drawing by faith on the means to overcome, the Holy Spirit and grace of God through Jesus.
Jesus made it clear that for a person rich in self, it is as hard to gain eternal life as a camel going through the eye of a needle. Yet, as He explains to the disciples, nothing is impossible for God, because He made the way for those who will humble themselves, realize they can’t do it on their own, and receive salvation His way, through the cross, which made it possible.